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What lessons did YOU learn this year?


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This school year has been a roller coaster for us as a family. I expanded my business (out of home) and began to work longer hours in about September, I had a legal skirmish with a former colleague. My children began a "homeschool school", basically a project-based school 3 days a week about 45 minute drive away. My oldest starting coming into his own as a math kid. 

 

And about a month ago, I realized I was miserable. I was exhausted, stressed that the kids weren't getting enough attention from me, both in school and in life, and run ragged. So I cut back my hours at work as of May 1, much to the dismay of my patients, but much to my happiness. We have spent this week in homeschool bliss :)

 

So what did I learn? I learned you can't do everything. Period. And that I LOVE LOVE LOVE homeschooling my kids and being with them. I love having time to exercise, to cook a nice meal, to take a walk with the dogs. And that I really don't care that much about "success". I mean, for a time there, I was obsessed with my business, growing it, serving all my clients in the best way possible...and my DH looks at me one day and says "Are you having fun?" And I was like "FUN???? Who has time for FUN?????" LOL. But I stepped back and realized he was right. My business doesn't add much to our bottom line, and my husband always told me that if I want to, I can work less or not at all. But I was fixated on being the "best" at everything. And I failed.

 

It's been a real learning year for me. I have learned that my relationship with God (I am Christian) is paramount, and that I was truly relegating it to 3rd or 4th place in my life. I learned that I NEED to exercise, eat well, and have space in the day to breathe. That my kids' education is, by far, more important than my business' success. I also know I will probably have to relearn this lesson many times again.

 

So.

 

What have YOU learned this year? What lessons have you learned from either your "homeschool" life or your "non-homeschool" life?

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I learned TONS of history along with my older son. That has been the big gaping hole in my education, slowly getting filled in. I'm picking up lots of asl vocab with my younger son. I also learned that trying to get any use of my tax money via summer programming in the local school district is way more frustration than it is worth. Last but not least, how to replace a sump pump (thank you YouTube!) so that our book storage doesn't end up underwater, talk about a nick of time.

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This year, for my family, was (is) The Year of Reading. I have a third grader, a second grader and a Kindergartner - none of whom were reading independently. I really, really wanted to make that the priority for the year - espeically for the bigger kids! The year started okay, but I started to feel more and more pressure from (well meaning) family members which resulted in feeling more pressure on myself, which resulted in me pushing my kids too hard, asking them to do things they weren't ready to do and creating all kinds of frustration, deflation, disappointment and conflict when it came to reading.

 

Thankfully, I realized what was happening about midway through the year (about when I read "The Book Whisperer" and "Teaching From Rest") and pulled waaaaaay back. Overall, comparing their reading from last year to now, they've made SO much improvement. And by lightening up, being realistic about *who they are* - not what my idea of an "ideal" second grader is. That's why I wanted to homeschool! So they can excel and be challenged in the same year, the same day, the same instant - right where they are, regardless of their age.

 

So. All that to say, I learned - or relearned? - to put first things first and focus on their own individual needs.

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I learned that it's easier to do my own thing than I thought it would be. I put together my own prehistory, and when I couldn't find anything for Ancients I loved as-is, I wasn't so intimidated by putting it together myself as well. And though I loosely use BFSU, I do a lot of putting together my own science as well. Those ended up being some of the classes my DD likes best.

 

I learned that while my DH enjoys working from home, it drives me slightly batty to have him constantly *right there* when I'm trying to teach. He has this unfortunate magical knack of coming out of his office just when DD is super-focused or right on the verge of frustration and asking her questions, breaking her focus or sending her over the edge. Then he disappears and I have a scattered kid. Maybe next year I'll figure out how to deal with this in a positive manner?

 

I learned that while I have so many intentions to do lots of hands-on and field trips, if I don't schedule it then it won't happen. DD never missed her gymnastics, dance, etc, classes because they were scheduled and my phone beeped telling me it was time to go. But how many times did we actually go to the zoo or children's museum? Not nearly enough.

 

I re-learned how much I love travel. Not just vacations (a short hop to somewhere to relax and sun myself) but actual travel. Combining this with the desire of both my daughter and I to learn Spanish made for a wonderful month in Guatemala. We're already planning a similar trip to Honduras some time.

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Despite being reluctant to homeschool, I've learned that:

 

1) I can do it (and may even be good at it).

2) My son enjoys it (and has learned a ton).

3) I like it more than I thought I would.

4) We made the right decision to do this. 

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I taught and provided "after school care" for a friend's daughter this year and it was a humbling experience. Biggest lesson I learned is that my ego needs to get the heck out of the way when teaching. That was a painful lesson.

 

Other lessons

- Using manipulatives in early math can not be over rated.

- Writing programs can and ought to be tweaked for the child.

- Finishing a program is less important than internalizing the truths taught in the program (or those taught by struggling with a program).

- I am horrible with lap books.

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Wow that really hits home Halcyon! Wow. Still reeling from that one (little to close to home). Thanks for posting.

I've learned to schedule what I CAN get done and not what I HOPE will get done. Amen I plan with realistic goals everything goes smoothly and everyone succeeds. When I plan too much only that which should have been done gets done and everyone is stressed and feels like a failure.

Be realistic. Learning my families time constraints. Biggest lessons here.

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Be realistic. Learning my families time constraints. Biggest lessons here.

 

 

Yes. And learn MY OWN time constraints. I need breathing room. Without it, I turn into a mean-spirited, cranky, stressed mess. And worst of all, I get so consumed with DOING that I don't even recognize its loss until it's almost too late. 

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I learned what people on this board have been saying for years:  the inferior curriculum that gets done is better than the superior curriculum that doesn't.  My youngest dc is using several texts that I do not like at all, yet dc is learning more than the older dc did from the "better" ones, just because of better scheduling.  Pick something, do it regularly, and watch the progress!

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What a beautiful post. Halcyon.

 

I have learned to enjoy each and every day, savor the hugs, and enjoy the talks with my teen dd. I have learned to be content with who I am and what God has for me to do.

I have also learned that I stick my foot in my mouth a lot, so less talking is a goal for me. Lol

 

I have also learned to be content with my wrinkles.

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I think this is more of a 'just breathing' year.

And much needed.

I'm relearning everything, constantly, as things won't stay in my head.

Hoping this will plateau, if not improve.

 

But because I'm more still, dd is firing ahead.

Is good.

 

 

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As this is my first year, I have learned a lot!

 

1. I learned that classical homeschooling doesn't work that well for my kids- they rebelled a couple of weeks going, we tried some new material, and the new levels of discussion we reached and the excitement in their eyes- I couldn't believe what a change it was!

2. I learned how tricky it is to find a balance between chucking your plans for your day to follow a creative impulse, and chucking your plans for the day for what leads to a half hearted attempt at a creative project that ends in frustration, or one that is given up immediately. And woe if you try to get them BACK in the mindset for structured learning! I'm still not sure how to deal with this one- as twice it ended in something awesome (a choose your own adventure book and a set of mytholical trading cards) and other times it ended in pleas a board game.

3. I learned that flexibility for field trips is dangerous. Having constant breaks during the week means that come Thursday nobody wants to work! I am going to schedule only one day next year, and then rest will be school.

4. I learned that I can't fly by the seat of my pants. No matter how much they might be learning, it still feels like we did nothing if I hadn't written anything down! Maybe I should try writing things down afterwards like another board member suggested...

5. I learned that no matter how much I love history, they just might not love it too. Gotta keep working on that!

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Hmm...  So far this year I have learned:

 

1. Each of my children really IS an individual, so even if I pick curriculum that's intended "for every learner" I may find that it's a better fit for one child than another.

2. It's hard to find a balance between being out and about and being home--especially one that suits everyone.

3. Even when I'm ready to plunk my children on the curb, I'm still not willing to seriously consider enrolling them in school.

4. Homeschooling is HARD--the planning, the children always underfoot and making messes, knowing when to push and when to step back...  But I wouldn't give it up.  (Besides, it gives me an excuse to learn about things I've always wanted to know more about!)

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Hmm...  So far this year I have learned:

 

1. Each of my children really IS an individual, so even if I pick curriculum that's intended "for every learner" I may find that it's a better fit for one child than another.

2. It's hard to find a balance between being out and about and being home--especially one that suits everyone.

3. Even when I'm ready to plunk my children on the curb, I'm still not willing to seriously consider enrolling them in school.

4. Homeschooling is HARD--the planning, the children always underfoot and making messes, knowing when to push and when to step back...  But I wouldn't give it up.  (Besides, it gives me an excuse to learn about things I've always wanted to know more about!)

 

This list!  I learned these things exactly this year.

 

And that my own personality is unique.  The best philosophy, curriculum, plan, whatever only works for us if it is a good fit for my personality.  Ideals don't always match reality.  and that is perfectly ok.  That's what I've learned.

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This school year has been a roller coaster for us as a family. I expanded my business (out of home) and began to work longer hours in about September, I had a legal skirmish with a former colleague. My children began a "homeschool school", basically a project-based school 3 days a week about 45 minute drive away. My oldest starting coming into his own as a math kid. 

 

And about a month ago, I realized I was miserable. I was exhausted, stressed that the kids weren't getting enough attention from me, both in school and in life, and run ragged. So I cut back my hours at work as of May 1, much to the dismay of my patients, but much to my happiness. We have spent this week in homeschool bliss :)

 

So what did I learn? I learned you can't do everything. Period. And that I LOVE LOVE LOVE homeschooling my kids and being with them. I love having time to exercise, to cook a nice meal, to take a walk with the dogs. And that I really don't care that much about "success". I mean, for a time there, I was obsessed with my business, growing it, serving all my clients in the best way possible...and my DH looks at me one day and says "Are you having fun?" And I was like "FUN???? Who has time for FUN?????" LOL. But I stepped back and realized he was right. My business doesn't add much to our bottom line, and my husband always told me that if I want to, I can work less or not at all. But I was fixated on being the "best" at everything. And I failed.

 

It's been a real learning year for me. I have learned that my relationship with God (I am Christian) is paramount, and that I was truly relegating it to 3rd or 4th place in my life. I learned that I NEED to exercise, eat well, and have space in the day to breathe. That my kids' education is, by far, more important than my business' success. I also know I will probably have to relearn this lesson many times again.

 

So.

 

What have YOU learned this year? What lessons have you learned from either your "homeschool" life or your "non-homeschool" life?

 

I love your post. I'm really struggling with the bolded. Unfortunately we can't afford for me not to work at all, and every spring when work gets busy and deadlines loom, I just about lose it.  Usually I hold on by the skin of my teeth.  This year I have less work, but I'm also dealing with it less well, because homeschooling is getting ever more involved and time consuming, and because I'm dealing with the very stressful reality of my parent's mental and physical deterioration - the long, slow, painful death.  Yesterday I had a meltdown- I just couldn't do it, any of it.  I spent half an hour crying in the shower and the rest of the day digging in my backyard. I just couldn't cope with any of it. I'm feeling very shaky with this mother's day coming - it is so hard to have a meaningful interaction with somebody who will forget everything you actually said and only remember bad stuff she creates out of her own dark places.

 

So, yeah, working on learning how to balance it all, how to do what I must, and let the other stuff go.  I've neglected my own physical, mental, social health the past few months, and I'm paying the price. It's so hard to start exercising again after months on the couch! Painful. Maybe someday I will learn not to stop?

 

As far as homeschooling, my second child continues to teach me that I'm not as relaxed and flexible as I like to think I am.  With my older, that's easy, because she's basically compliant, and if something doesn't work for her, she expresses it and we find an alternative together.  Don't like that book? No problem! Want a different math book? No problem! Want to spend some time on that rabbit trail? No problem!   With my younger, though, she isn't as good at expressing what is wrong, or what is wrong is something like "I don't want you to tell me what to do" or "I don't want to write/do math" or some other non-negotiable thing.  Or she just expresses her angst through some other, hard to figure out manifestation that may have everything to do with school, but it's hard to tell how to fix.    And the reality is, she's different enough from me and from my older that she probably really needs different approaches, but they aren't intuitively obvious to me. That's where my lack of flexibility comes in - I am realizing that I have a fixed idea of what should be accomplished, and I'm not being flexible enough about the way to accomplish it.  I'm starting to think that this child would absolutely love a year of Bravewriter, nature journalling, and things which to me have just always felt light and fluffy, but they might really work for her. Anyway, I'm learning I need to be willing to really throw out my ideas of how things should be done, when, and with what materials, and try and tune in more to this child and what works *for her*. Because when it is working, it is a joy to behold and be a part of.  I just don't feel like we spend enough time in that place, because we have pesky things like division and spelling and paragraph writing to learn.

 

So maybe it's not that I've learned anything, but I've identified what I need to learn.  So maybe that is a good first step?

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Great question!

 

I've re-learned that 90% of being successful at homeschool is getting up every day and just doing it. The perfect plan, schedule, and curriculum is great, but nothing can substitute for good, old-fashioned consistency. I've known this already, but had it reinforced multiple times this year through dealing with another homeschool mom.

 

I learned that I need to spend more time every day delighting in my children and being with them. Instead of focusing on how I feel like they weigh me down at times, I need to switch my perspective and focus on how I can build them up.

 

I learned that now that my kids are getting older letting them have a say in what they learn and what curriculum they want to use is a good thing. I need to be willing to relinquish control of their education more.

 

I learned how to keep our house picked up and relatively clean while homeschooling for the first time since we started. I'm 100% certain that it's because the kids are old enough to do pretty much anything I ask of them, but I'll pretend like I've found some magical solution! 

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I love your post. I'm really struggling with the bolded. Unfortunately we can't afford for me not to work at all, and every spring when work gets busy and deadlines loom, I just about lose it.  Usually I hold on by the skin of my teeth.  

 

 

 

I hear you, and I feel for you. It's very hard, and if I didn't have the option to cut back, which I do, I would feel very overwhelmed.  :grouphug:

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This is 2-year lesson that I've learned with my high schooler. It's been a game changer for us. 

 

Highschooler Lesson: My relationship with ds > his academic success. 

 

This boy. He just pushed against every single way I tried to motivate him, encourage him, correct him, discipline him or otherwise help him with school, college apps, choosing a major, etc. My interaction in any form when it applied to his school was killing our relationship. For the first time ever in this homeschooling journey, I had to completely release him 2 years ago. I told him I was available for help but would wait for him to come to me. He only came twice in a panic. He made lots of mistakes, some rather big. Not permanently scarring, but setbacks that might cause him to go the long way to his goals.  And here's the amazing part: I didn't COME UNGLUED inside or outside. I had released it so completely that his mistakes didn't affect my emotion or my sense of worth. Huge victory! 

 

He's gonna make it. I know he is. He's got some good big brothers taking him under their wings. He responds like soft buttah to them. My job? CHEERLEAD. Affirm. Wash clothes. Provide healthy meals. Gas money now and again. Applaud when I can.  

 

So, yes. A needed lesson that my relationship with my kids trumps a lot of other stuff that I held tight. 

 

Lisa

 

 

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 I've learned that the most important thing I can do is to discipline MYSELF.  Consistently waking everyone up for school even when I'd rather have another cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet. Consistently starting the day with Morning Time.  Consistently sitting down with each child to do the Work With Mom work.  Consistently checking their independent work.    Doing what I know has to be done instead of wishing some magic fairy would :poof!: make it all easier!

 

 

I've also learned that really, most curriculum choices are pretty solid, and I must. resist. the. temptation. to toss something we're doing that's working in pursuit of something just because it's new! shiny! or aesthetically pleasing!  Ultimately, the curriculum is merely a tool; it is not my master!

 

Lastly, I've learned that kids learn like they grow, a little bit at a time.  Yes, there are 'spurts' where things seem to be clicking all over the place, but those tend to happen after many days of dutifully laying brick upon brick, building a strong foundation.  So, the education for my early elementary kiddos has to be consistent.  For me --  a procrastinator who has a 'Step One: Slay a dragon.  Step 2: Take a nap' approach to, well, everything -- this can be a challenge!   So my motto for 2015 is "Joyful Diligence."  This is almost an oxymoron for me, but I want it to be true that I can find joy in doing the things that I must do.  

 

Really last this time, I've learned that I still have a lot to learn on this journey!  And that's OK.  I know more now than I did a year ago, and far, far more than I did before I started.  By the time I get my 3 year old up and grown, I may have things figured out. :)

 

 

 

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Well ... I can't say I've actually learned these lessons fully yet, but like Rose, I have at least identified some things I need to learn:

 

1.  Patience.  Always with the patience for me!  I need patience with the days when his brain falls out; patience to remember that he is not yet a college student and therefore should not be expected to write or think like one; patience while he tries to figure out when it's okay to interrupt and when it isn't - and sometimes interrupting with a long, only-remotely-relevant story has to be okay, because at least he is making a connection and trying to share it with me.

 

2.  I need to learn some stock phrases to use when I need to shut down an argument or just redirect focus.  I get sucked in so easily!  And I definitely need to learn not to take things personally.  I have no idea how to go about doing that, though.  If anyone has ideas, please help me!

 

3.  I need to figure out how to keep one eye on the lesson and the other eye on his responses to it:  is it too easy, too difficult, just right (in the "good challenge zone")?  Then, what is the reason behind the difficulty - his brain fell out, his emotions are running high, he just doesn't feel like thinking hard today, he needs a snack and a breather, what?!  Again, if anyone can help, I'm all ears!

 

Sigh.  It is still our first year homeschooling, and most of it has been fantastic.  But I wish I could learn my lessons a whole lot faster.

 

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I've learned that I think and feel too much and need to cut back on that some how.

 

I've learned to start doing things for myself...but it still takes too much effort. I've become too used to ditching me-time for what's-best-for-family time and I need to stop feeling like I'm being selfish when I want to do things for myself.

 

Sending out hugs to all and hoping there's lots of sunshine and love and peace in and around you on mother's day.

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This has been, by far, the most difficult HS year for me.

 

 

Schooling multiple pre-teens is harder that potty-training multiple toddlers.  (Whose idea was it to have 3 dc so close in age????  I LOVE them all...shoulda' spread 'em out!)

 

Drastic Habit/Attitude change requires a change of scenery sometimes.  A little sunshine goes a long way.  A simple routine cures a world of ills.

 

My momma-instinct on what will work usually works...98% accuracy rate.  (Stop doubting!  Just do it!)

 

You have to actually teach some things.  Just b/c they were independent with something last month, doesn't mean that they will remain so.  Don't get too sidetracked to teach...this is why we are here at home everyday. 

 

When frustrated, call it a day and read aloud a good book.

 

Have meaningful work of MY OWN to do.  I have to have something that is not undone in 5min to look back upon and see that my day mattered.  I need hobby time to practice and keep up with my music...and learn a new instrument, a new song.

 

Life is sweet when these kids are big enough that we enjoy each other's company...it's a lifesaver to remember that when their pre-teen-ness returns to the surface...see my first point.

 

Family culture trumps all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Let me see...

First, that there are times when it's a good thing I like to do my own thing. I'm a little better at adapting than I thought I was. Integrating Language Arts went really, really well this year. The boys are taking off as writers, they enjoy it and I enjoy teaching it. 

Secondly, I learned that when it comes to keeping a notebook of any kind, I might as well just use the notebook to hold down the piles of paper I will never put into it. Spiral-bound, simple, uncomplicated paper management works best for me. 

Third, when in doubt, don't require written output. Read and discuss. Writing can wait.

Fourth, in the spirit of "don't need to do it all", outsourcing grocery shopping to the DH was a good call. True, I do sometimes get unusual cuts of meat to work with, but that forces me to be creative, and I like being creative. It's all good.

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I've learned that I crave community but the community I crave doesn't necessarily want to hear everything I would like to share and I need to be okay with that.

 

I've learned that I think and feel too much and need to cut back on that some how.

 

 

I think the first two things are related and I say that because this describes me a lot. Some close friends describe me as "intense." I just don't live on the surface all that much, and it has taken me years to realize that there are not a lot of people that like to dig deep all the time. I have a few friends that "get me" and I spend a lot of time in prayer and journaling. Ultimately though I am with you that there is sort of grieving to it--you want very much to share that part of yourself but there aren't dozens of people lining up for it. All I can say is--you were made that way for a purpose. If you think deep and feel deep you probably also love deep, and those who know you well, know this about you and cherish it.  That is something to be grateful for. =)  Happy mother's day to you!

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I have learned  .... I wish I would have had my kids when I was younger.  I am ready to be an individual again instead of a full-time homeschooling mom.

 

But, on REALLY good days, I love homeschool even if I am tired.

 

 

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Let me see...

First, that there are times when it's a good thing I like to do my own thing. I'm a little better at adapting than I thought I was. Integrating Language Arts went really, really well this year. The boys are taking off as writers, they enjoy it and I enjoy teaching it. 

Secondly, I learned that when it comes to keeping a notebook of any kind, I might as well just use the notebook to hold down the piles of paper I will never put into it. Spiral-bound, simple, uncomplicated paper management works best for me. 

Third, when in doubt, don't require written output. Read and discuss. Writing can wait.

Fourth, in the spirit of "don't need to do it all", outsourcing grocery shopping to the DH was a good call. True, I do sometimes get unusual cuts of meat to work with, but that forces me to be creative, and I like being creative. It's all good.

 

Regarding notebooking, written output, and grocery shopping - we are sisters!

 

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Let me see...

First, that there are times when it's a good thing I like to do my own thing. I'm a little better at adapting than I thought I was. Integrating Language Arts went really, really well this year. The boys are taking off as writers, they enjoy it and I enjoy teaching it. 

Secondly, I learned that when it comes to keeping a notebook of any kind, I might as well just use the notebook to hold down the piles of paper I will never put into it. Spiral-bound, simple, uncomplicated paper management works best for me. 

Third, when in doubt, don't require written output. Read and discuss. Writing can wait.

Fourth, in the spirit of "don't need to do it all", outsourcing grocery shopping to the DH was a good call. True, I do sometimes get unusual cuts of meat to work with, but that forces me to be creative, and I like being creative. It's all good.

 

 

To the bolded...

 

:iagree:   Spiral-Bind.All.The.Things!!!!!!!! :cheers2:

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1. The history cycle is not a requirement. It's okay to "dig deep" in a few topics rather than race through 8000 years of history.

2. High school is coming.  :willy_nilly:

3. Exercise is very important. For everyone.

4. DD is happier and retains more when I schedule fewer things and when "school" takes less of the day. I now try not to duplicate things (like the second math and writing curricula) and give her more free time.

 

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Beautiful post, Halcyon.

This has been my burnout year. I have never opened the Chinese textbook. I have totally given up on Chinese. I taught them for at least 4 years and they haven't learned or retained much. I am a failure and am willing to give up in favor of a better mom-son relationship.

I have not even once checked their writing. Failure again.

I have not checked older son's general science. He is totally do it on his own, taking all the quizzes and tests by himself.

We have had very short days. They only worked 2 hours in the morning for the last few months.

I have been very nervous about middle and especially high school.

On one hand I would like outside accoutability; on the other hand, I still want to keep our flexible schedule to be able to go visit my brothers in China and travel inside the US off season. I am debating if I should sign ds up for outsourced classes.

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From my high schoolers I learned that I am not responsible for their grades in their outside classes. It is their responsibility to get their homework done, not mine. I graduated from high school long ago.

 

From my elementary kid I learned that doing just a few things well is better than trying to do everything. That means math, writing, and Japanese were all that I required to get done for months. We usually did read a book and talk about it. Sometimes it was a science book, sometimes it was a history book and sometimes it was fantasy or space pirates. It is all good. And we talked about the rocket ships he designed. And he played games. And he played lots of Legos. Lots and lots of Legos.

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I think the first two things are related and I say that because this describes me a lot. Some close friends describe me as "intense." I just don't live on the surface all that much, and it has taken me years to realize that there are not a lot of people that like to dig deep all the time. I have a few friends that "get me" and I spend a lot of time in prayer and journaling. Ultimately though I am with you that there is sort of grieving to it--you want very much to share that part of yourself but there aren't dozens of people lining up for it. All I can say is--you were made that way for a purpose. If you think deep and feel deep you probably also love deep, and those who know you well, know this about you and cherish it.  That is something to be grateful for. =)  Happy mother's day to you!

 

This is so incredibly sweet and thoughtful. Thank you! And the same to you too. :grouphug:

 

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I am debating if I should sign ds up for outsourced classes.

 

 

Do it. It has really changed our homeschooling life for the better. I am not sure how old your kids are, but my oldest is 12 and we did some online classes this year (AoPS and attuneup) and we will do three next year. And youngest will do one or two also. Juggling the meetup times is annoying, but it's been fun to see my child rise to the occasion without me nagging him.

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Do it. It has really changed our homeschooling life for the better. I am not sure how old your kids are, but my oldest is 12 and we did some online classes this year (AoPS and attuneup) and we will do three next year. And youngest will do one or two also. Juggling the meetup times is annoying, but it's been fun to see my child rise to the occasion without me nagging him.

My boys are close to your boys' age, 12.5 and 10.

What three for your older and what two for your younger? Older will have online science?

I totally like the outside accoutability. Ds10 will take IEW Student Writing Intensive B with six other students taught by a mom at her house. He did SWI A at age 8 two years ago with the same group of students and did extremely well. Ds12 took SWI B at age 10 the same year with another group of older students and also did great. I am thinking of signining him up for Attuneup online for writing.

Please Share what outsourced classes your boys will do so that I can get some ideas and inspiration.

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My boys are close to your boys' age, 12.5 and 10.

What three for your older and what two for your younger? Older will have online science?

I totally like the outside accoutability. Ds10 will take IEW Student Writing Intensive B with six other students taught by a mom at her house. He did SWI A at age 8 two years ago with the same group of students and did extremely well. Ds12 took SWI B at age 10 the same year with another group of older students and also did great. I am thinking of signining him up for Attuneup online for writing.

Please Share what outsourced classes your boys will do so that I can get some ideas and inspiration.

 

 

Older will be doing Algebra 2 through Wilson Hill, Physics at Clover Creek and Writing..well, we were going to continue with Attune Up but she won't have a fall class, so we are considering WTM. 

 

Younger will do Attune Up's Time Capsule and perhaps G3 or Athena's Academy's American History.

 

We love Attune Up and are sad she won't be offering it until the spring. We may also just work on WWS 2 on our own and wait for the spring. But he seems to do much better with the outside accountability....so maybe I can find a one semester writing course.

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OP, while our circumstances may be different I feel as if I learned similar things. I have to take care of myself, my relationship with God has to be paramount to be rejuvenated and renewed to serve others all day long, every day. I learned that exercise makes me happier and feel more prepared to do the things I have been called to do. I learned that sometimes it's not the curriculum I choose it's just choosing to DO it. To show up everyday ready to learn right along with them instead of analyzing every possible curriculum available to me but teaching but I know and knowing we will get there. Slow and steady, there is no magical formula. I learned that true success for me is to see my children walk in the truth and walk with the Lord. I don't define success by how much money they will make, what college they will attend, what career path they choose, my hope is that they follow God with their whole hearts. That's what I learned and it's so easy to get side tracked with all the new curriculum catalogs coming out and reading these forums and seeing what works for others instead of focusing my gaze back to the real people within my life and what I really need to be doing. Serving, loving, educating my own and letting the rest fall away.

 

 

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I learned that it is okay to drop the extras. DS did not enjoy art or music this year. We trudged through it for about 10 weeks, then I realized, "This is supposed to add beauty and joy to our days. It is not. Instead, it is sucking the beauty and joy right out of everything and making every day feel like drudgery." I dropped both. It was very difficult to do -- I spent money on the curricula and I hate giving up on something that I feel is worthwhile.

 

BUT. I am sooooo glad we dropped those things! DS perked right back up and has enjoyed school so much more since then.

 

On a related note, I learned that DS doesn't want school to take any longer than absolutely necessary. Crafts? No. Projects? No. Non-essential writing? No. Fun electives? Heck no! He wants to get it DONE so he can go play. And I've learned to embrace that and love him for who he is.

 

Last, I have learned who I am as a teacher. We made some critical changes this year. They had to do with DS, but they were more directly changes that helped ME feel more comfortable teaching. We switched from Singapore to CLE. I got tired of feeling like I was swimming through muddy water, no idea where I was going, which way was up, where the goal was. Nothing against Singapore; I just realized that it's not a curriculum I feel comfortable teaching. CLE is a breath of fresh air. And DS has thrived. Next year, we are switching from a Charlotte Mason LA approach to the more traditional approach of R & S. Again, this is more about my comfort and ability in teaching than about a change that DS needs. And he will thrive -- because I will thrive.

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It's been a full year. Did I learn something new about myself and my world, or am I developing an even more severe case of PTSD? Onlookers seem to have varying opinions, but most are  :scared: instead of  :lol: . Whatever. Since part of my new belief system includes a lot more apathy, I don't really care.  :D

 

Yesterday was Mother's Day. The first that I didn't celebrate or grieve through. It's been almost 9 years since I left. I'm not a daughter anymore. I'm not a mother anymore. Being a mother and a daughter is a role, not a description of what blood kin are still alive. It's an odd transition, not to try to play this role anymore, but I'm experiencing some peace that has been alluding me. I spent the day cleaning, researching and writing, as a single, unattached woman.

 

I've read a few education authors that thrilled me, then overwhelmed me, and finally I figured out what to discard and what to incorporate into what I was already doing. I'm figuring out what can and cannot mix, and learning to identify and focus on MY priorities, without being shamed into adopting the priorities of others.

 

And first and foremost, this is the year I have declared I will stop being an educational wannabe.  :001_tt2:  to bourgeois educational methods and expectations that make me frown, and are not meant for ME. Thank you Dialectica for teaching me the word "bourgeois". ;)

 

Top-Hat1.jpg

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This year I tried to smash too much stuff into our line-up that just served one purpose instead of combining things like writing from history or learning geography skills through artistic drawing of world maps. I learned  towards the end how to better cull things and to make sure a supplement is really supplementing!! I have chronic 'doesn't feel like enough' syndrome and this year was a wake-up call in doing.too.much. I think I felt the pressure of 'legally' schooling 2 kids even though I'd been teaching the little one for a while. I let, "Holy cow, I have a real K-er now. Must do all the things!!" happen. 

 

This year, I'm trying to take the advice of veterans to keep it simple and/or cut out redundancy in our work. I want to use really beneficial, worthwhile resources that'll teach more than one tiny narrow area. I don't have time to teach two kids 12 things!! I forgot to remind myself that I have time to teach these concepts too. They aren't going to college next year. Yes, we have skills to learn but I'm going to really work on my sense of urgency in homeschooling. I think I need to read this Homeschooling from a State of Rest book everyone keeps talking about.. 

 

Also, drinking more wine this year should help. ;)

 

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Sorry for the side track: Halcyon, can you share what Derek Owen's physical science is like? What do you need to buy, how often do you meet and what is the work load like? I am debating between this online class or a real classroom Apologia Physical Science for ds12.

 

 

We purchased this: http://www.lucideducation.com/?p=PhysicalScienceBuy.php

 

It is not a "meetup" type of class, at least the version we bought. There is an online class which you can buy through derekowens.com, but we chose to buy the self-paced version with the thumb drive. The work load, as it is self-paced, is self-directed, but definitely not bad. The only annoying thing is that the videos are very short and you have to click to go to the next one--it would have been much easier if each lecture comprised of a 45 minute video, rather than having to click to go to the next one.

 

Here's a thread I started a while ago with information.

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/507757-derek-owens-physical-science-reviews/

 

My son says Derek is a bit monotonous but very thorough. He has no complaints.

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We also had a roller coaster of a year (but that is nothing new).  We started this year doing CC at a new campus and loved it.  I was finally in a place where I thought I could tutor, but I was not being honest with myself about my physical limitations.  Whenever I was tutoring I really enjoyed myself and my class of 9-11 year olds, and the preparations were really not hard since I had been through the cycle before and mostly knew the material pretty well, but the stress of whether or not my body would cooperate to get us there on time was not good for me and afterwards I would crash for a whole day.  I also was teaching a SWR class on Fridays for 15 families (or close to that, can't remember exactly) and while this went very well, also took a lot of out me and caused me to crash.

 

Between all the teaching and crashing I had very few good days at home to teach my own.  I reasoned, at first, that they were getting a lot out of our Tuesday and Friday classes as well as Sunday church activities and choirs but more and more I found myself having to face the fact that we weren't getting very far in the basics.  The papers of my oldest two were mediocre because we had no time to do them well.  I did let go and put their education on their shoulders so to speak, but I wasn't checking their math and so I had no idea how they were doing.  I wasn't editing their papers.  They were all enjoying the classes, although my oldest felt a lot of pressure to get all of her work done and really wasn't able to keep up with either the skill building or memorization of the material even though she held her own ok in class most of the time and enjoyed her classmates and tutor.

 

Then I found myself unexpectedly pregnant with number 8 and that was very scary to handle on top of my health issues.  I had to get off of all the supplements I was on (which were actually going to make me worse before better and were also scary for that reason) but was able to get on some new supplements that I handled so well that I was able to eat dairy and gluten again (and other things I had become sensitive to).  I was very tired, though, and this made it even harder and more stressful to get to my classes. 

 

I began to close my eyes when I was not feeling well and dream of a place that looked like an old country retreat somewhere.  It was decorated with antiques and there were very basic old fashioned toys and so much room to run and build and explore and imagine.  I had no idea how this would happen, but more and more I longed for it in my spirit.  And lo and behold we ended up being able to buy a 15 acre farm with a barn and a simple house with 2000 square feet and a huge front porch and screened in back porch.  It had a trail through the woods for perfect nature walks and pastures for my children to play in.  On paper there was no way we could have bought anything with our credit, but the man offered financing and we came up with half of the down payment he was asking for and it was ours!!  I have been in heaven here ever since.  We have yet to decorate or finish cleaning out all the extra junk in our garage, but we couldn't be happier with our home.

 

We moved here in December and since we were on break from our classes I was able to take a good, long look at things.  I was so content here that I had no desire to drive all the way to classes and just wanted to stay home.  I was burned out completely with homeschooling and just wanted to enjoy this beautiful place and my children as their mommy.  After some unschooling time to enjoy the holidays and unpack and after stepping out of my teaching roles, I felt ready to get back to some schoolwork somehow.  We tried CLE thinking it would be more independent, but my oldest two had to go so far back in the curriculum that I was still having to teach them (really one needed the math and the other the language arts but it was cheaper to put them in the same level so they were both held back in one area beyond what they needed to be).  I was spending a lot of time teaching or correcting (like 8 hours a day) because we were also doubling up on lessons to catch up.  Actually, first we did a month of remedial math which turned out to be a waste of time because once we dropped it they forgot everything we had learned!  That was a lot of money wasted, too!  The program is a good one, but just not one I could pull off.  Then I freaked out and we tried Monarch to get them more independent but I spent so much time fixing ridiculous tech issues and I knew the material was not what I really wanted for our home so we quit that after a month, too, after having bought several used laptops.  

 

Before trying Monarch we had had a laid back month of school that was pretty much just the basics and self-teaching workbooks and texts that I actually liked and that had gone really well.  So I went back to that format and since then all I have done is to tweak.  I am praying that I have finally found a "formula" that allows me to breathe and ENJOY our life together.

 

They come to me in the morning while my body is unwinding and I read aloud to them.  Then my 6 year old reads to me from her easy reader for 1/2 hour.  They do their chores and then have some play time.  At 12 I put the toddler down and we sit together for an hour to do devotion and memory work.  This amount of time seems perfect for us.  Then they have about 3 hours to complete their math, spelling, writing, drawing, and music theory.  I work with the little ones one on one and my older ones work by themselves.  As I finish with the younger ones I check the work of the olders and I have them redo anything they missed to find out if they don't understand what they are doing or made silly mistakes.  This is taking us painfully slowly through their math books, but they are finally not allowed to continue through the material without knowing what they don't know (if that makes sense).  Gaps are being filled in and that is wonderful to see.  At 4:00 I am DONE!  If we have not finished in that 4 hours I will just pick up the next day.  I go sit on my porch and enjoy the day, take a nap, or read, or do laundry or whatever it is I feel led to do.  I go be a Mommy and a person.  And I breathe and I soak in the beauty around me.  And I'm serious when I say that does wonders for my SOUL.  It brings gratitude in the midst of our health and financial circumstances and that is soooo important for healing.

 

In the evening the older ones are required to read from dark until they go to sleep, evenly dividing the time between Bible, Nonfiction (I give them a topic of the day), and fiction.  I often ask them what they are reading and we discuss it as they want to.  We actually play family games sometimes now and we have watched some great history documentaries and historical fiction movies together.  We listen to classical music when we do math.  We do nature walks and the kids swim in our pool almost every day.  It is wonderful.  Academics are important, but they are SECOND to our health and well-being and fellowship with each other.  

 

I dropped Greek and Latin this week.  I can't wait to pick them up again when the time is right but I have decided to focus on ONE language goal at a time for each child and right now I do not feel finished with spelling for any of them so that is where all of them are spending their time outside of copywork for language arts.  I have increased copywork for the younger ones and I got my older ones to drop composition in favor of more copywork for a little while.  They need more practice with beautiful language before giving me content of their own it seems.  Eventually I want them to study another language, but not until I am confident that they know English well.  It takes a lot of dedication to study a language for life so I am going to make sure that all the tools for that are laid in English first and then decide how much time they have for other languages.  I will do the same for science.  They will study math to the fullest extent first, and then science if there is time.  (Of course, they will have to read enough of it for a credit and will do as many token labs as needed for credit, but we will devote bare minimum time to it until they are fully competent in math).  They will study instruments after they have the self-discipline and maturity to handle music theory.  They will branch out in art to their heart's content when drawing is easy.  I will lay the foundation and the path for them in the basics of math, language, writing, and fine arts, and they will build on it to the extent that their capabilities allow and desires drive.  I will provide the best study environment and materials I can and support them as needed without spoon feeding them.  Through that I will expect quality work and I will not stress about where they will end up.  I will require the time spent studying, but I will also seek to inspire them by studying myself and showing them all that they can aspire too from history and the best of modern day culture.  I will keep the requirements simple so that they learn to REALLY study and not just be shoved through subjects.  I will cultivate wisdom, and understanding, and knowledge through literature read alouds, worshiping together, and memorizing things that are both useful and enriching.  I will trust that they will learn and grow enormously just through our fellowship together in this unique family we have and not be so worried about how much other people are able to invest in our lives when we have so much investing going on amongst ourselves day in and day out right here at home.  

 

Less is more.  Less is more.  Less is more........

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